© NANCY MACPHEE/TC MEDIA
Anna MacDonald, the office manager and youth program leader at the Summerside Church of the Nazarene, shows the desk where the laptop and projector were located before someone stole them from the church on Saturday.
SUMMERSIDE - It was a brazen theft, done in broad daylight and from God’s house.
It has left Anna MacDonald shaken, wondering who could have entered the Summerside Church of the Nazarene on a Saturday afternoon to steal.
Taken was a black Dell laptop computer and a silver Dell projector, model 1200.
“It is just as violating as it is when it is a personal home, just as disappointing,” said MacDonald. “The biggest thing, though, it affects more people.”
It’s hard to know for certain how the thief or thieves gained access into the church, situated on a quiet residential street in Summerside’s downtown.
Doors are usually locked when the church isn’t in use. On this particular day, a doorbell had to be rung to alert MacDonald someone was outside.
The church, though, is a busy place, with people in and out every day, and used by not only its members but by other groups and organizations.
“There are people in and out opening and closing doors and sometimes they don’t do it well,” said MacDonald, who wonders if a door wasn’t properly shut Saturday and if someone was watching and waiting. “It was a robbery of opportunity.”
The alarm did notify the security company of something amiss.
Police were on scene within minutes, but the intruder was gone.
“When they came, they found two doors that were open,” said MacDonald.
After a scan of the church by a member and police, it appeared nothing was missing.
That was until Sunday morning and minutes prior to weekly service.
“I get a text ‘do you know where the laptop and the projector are?’” said MacDonald, who, Friday night, had placed the items on a desk in an unlocked office. “They checked and said ‘they’re not there’. That’s when we discovered it.”
The laptop and projector are used frequently, mostly for the Wednesday night youth program and every second Friday for the young adult program.
“It is obviously someone that either had a great need, drugs or something that they feel they have to have money for,” surmised MacDonald. “If that is the case, their respect for others, it doesn’t matter if it is a church or not.
She added, “They probably figured it is just an institution and they will be fine and can buy something else.”
But that’s not the case. The congregation is small, with about 80 to 90 on any given Sunday, and money isn’t plentiful.
“It impacts a lot of people, it really does.”
A parishioner has loaned the church a spare laptop and the old projector has come out of storage until a replacement can be bought or, through either divine intervention or the ongoing police investigation, the stolen items are found.
“We are being very, very much more careful now,” said MacDonald, who, in her 12 years working at the church, doesn’t recall a similar incident happening. “We are going to be upping our security system, for sure.”
Does she forgive whoever violated her place of worship?
“Absolutely,” MacDonald said without hesitation. “It is just really disappointing that someone would do that.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Summerside police at 902-432-1201.